Longlisted Poem 2011

Hester Dart

Pimlico Academy, London


Once it was a bird that flapped
Flapped in my lungs and squawked in my brain until I silenced it,
Calmed it so that it curled small
And made a shell to hide in.
For years it grew inside me, I felt it heavy in my womb, ticking
Its ticking heartbeat like the
Egg timer that sits on the kitchen shelf
And clicks,
Clicks in the empty air until with a buzz
It calls ‘time’s up!’ and
Wrenches the egg from me.
It flowed from me in a reverie
Without pain. And I
Collected it, as I collect blood
In an egg cup.
For a day it sat there, ticking
And I was mesmerized by its simplicity.
Its fragile shell coloured from my skin,
No longer a bird but filled with a deep yellow
Yolk and sticky, translucent fluid.
The yolk would be whole and round,
Ticking with my own rhythmic heartbeat.
Plump and unblemished from the years that I fed it.
I could swallow it and we would
Join together again and fly away
As birds do.
But the egg fits perfectly in my
Palm.  In the hollow between muscles.
I could crush it now, close my fingers and
Break its thin shell into jigsaw pieces,
Releasing its sticky contents. The yolk
Would break, marble itself into the fluid
Running down my wrist. Perhaps it would cook white
On my hot skin.
The egg remains intact for now,
The beauty of it keeps my fingers
© Hester Dart

Project Details

  • Date February 8, 2015
  • Tags 2011 Simplicity - Longlisted Poems